Keen London restaurant diners are always on the lookout for the latest trends. A few years ago, it was Korean food, recently it’s been bubble waffles, could the next big thing be Burmese cuisine? If word gets around about the fantastic cuisine, Lahpet has been cooking up in London Fields, who knows.
London Fields is a hot bed of culinary creative with exciting pop-ups appearing on a regular basis, in particular Helmsley Place. Last year, it was Brazilian pop-up, Rio Boteco; this year we have Lahpet, which will be around until December 2017 at the latest. It is a restaurant certainly deserving of a permanent residence. In fact, I would say their current set-up in East London already feels extremely homely and ready to be a permanet fixture with casual canteen style tables with calming green shrubbery.
For jaded food reviewers and demanding London diners, sampling the food at Lahpet feels like Christopher Columbus discovering a new civilisation. This is more of a main course plus sides venue rather than a lengthy 3-course extravaganza, but that didn’t stop us feasting on extensive selection of dishes from the menu.
The title dish, Lahpet, which is a Burmese tea leaf dish is a compendium of exciting textures and flavours. It had a satisfying mixture of beans, heritage tomatoes, sesame seeds, chilli, garlic along with the tea leaf. This is the kind of salad that will make even hardened meatlovers weep with joy.
Other starters had just as much crunch if slightly less healthy tasting, there were different types of fritters including an intruiging one with kidney beans and ginger and at £3 for 2 large pieces, this was a satisfying meal to anyone’s wallet as well as your tastebuds.
Main courses were generally pricier but that is where the dishes excelled even further. Braised aubergine was slowly roasted with care and attention with curry spices infused into the fruit. Hake masala used fish of the highest quality that you would expect at a Michelin-starred restaurant rather than a pop-up in East London. The Burmese masala had a sweet tinge and on further questioning the owner explained it was a special blend of spices ordered directly from Burma. The dish included lemongrass rosti, spring onion and lime.
As my guest explained, he felt it had pleasing similarities to Thai and Indian food, but without the aggressive edge associated with those cuisines. If this is the type of cuisine Burmese monks have been enjoying for centuries, I will happily sign up to join the monastry soon.
They are running a special supper club on Thursday 17th August. Tickets are available here.